Martin Luther King Jr. led protests that were generally peaceful and not destructive. His protests often had concrete goals, and their tactics were defined well. Many of his protests were part of greater economic strategies.Continue Reading
One of King's most successful early protests was against the Montgomery, Alabama transit system after Rosa Parks was arrested. Black people were the primary customers of the bus service, and King's influence affected it greatly since a majority of its users were black. King's ability to organize proved to be one of his strongest weapons in the fight against discrimination.
King credited Mahatma Gandhi with inspiring his vision of nonviolent protest. Gandhi's ability to organize large-scale, peaceful protests was instrumental in driving the British out of India, and King was able to justify similar protests using Christian theology. King found nonviolence to be more than just a strategy to achieve a goal and viewed is as a way of life as well.
However, King had some sympathy for other civil rights leaders who advocated for more radical and sometimes violent protests. He famously called riots "the language of the unheard" and spoke with people who wanted stronger action. In addition, King focused on issues beyond racial discrimination, especially in the late 1960s. King spoke out against the Vietnam War and argued that economic rights were essential for people of all races.Learn more about US History